Friday, April 29, 2011

Louisa ... Louise

Been spending most of my computer time cleaning up my genealogy database, which means not so much time has been spent on this blog.  A couple days ago I wrote about one of my 2nd great-grandmothers:  Louisa (Perkins) McGary.  So her granddaughter, Dessie (Aston) Harris, was my grandmother.  And Dessie's daughter, Alda Louise (Harris) Kuhn was my mother.

The title of this post comes from my wondering if Grandma Dess gave her youngest daughter a middle name of Louise in honor of her own grandmother, Louisa.  This is probably one of those things I'll never know for sure ... but it seems a likely possibility.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Arthur McGary & Louisa Perkins

Arthur & Louisa (Perkins) McGary
Arthur McGary and Louisa Perkins were married 14 November 1854 in Belmont County, Ohio.  Arthur was born 11 February 1823 and died 27 April 1899.  Louisa was born 02 April 1836 and died 28 May 1926.  Both were born in Ohio - and both died at Fork Ridge, Marshall County, West Virginia.

Arthur & Louisa are my 2nd great-grandparents following this line:
  • Arthur McGary married Louisa Perkins
  • Daughter: Cancedella McGary married Charles Gibson Aston
  • Daughter: Dessie Charlotte Aston married Charles McClure Harris
  • Daughter: Alda Louise Harris married Donald Glenn Kuhn
  • Daughter: ME!
This photo is one of many that were included in a beautiful photo album that my Grandma Dess gave me when I was young - the album was her mother's.  Fortunately, Grandma Dess had written names on many of the photos in this album so that I have been able to match the photos with people I have recorded in my genealogy program.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Kuhn Immigrants to America

Nikolaus Kuhn and Catharina (Schumacher) Kuhn were released from Prussian citizenship for the purpose of emigration to the State of Ohio in North America. The release certificate was signed on 27 April 1886 by the Royal Prussian Government in Trier. The Release Certificate stated that the certificate would "be ineffective if the released persons do not move their place of residence to outside Federal territory within six months from the day of issue of the Release Certificate, or acquire citizenship in another federal state."

Rhynland, Red Star Line steamship - courtesy Norway Heritage
Photo above is part of the Heritage-Ships collection
available at Norway Heritage.

Nikolaus and his family boarded the S.S. Rhynland in Antwerp, Belgium, to start their new life in America.  The journey from Antwerp to New York took one to two weeks in conditions that were far from being first class for most immigrants. Castle Garden was America's first official immigration center and was the predecessor to Ellis Island. Castle Garden records state that the Rhynland arrived at New York on 10 April 1886.

Why is the date of arrival earlier than the date of the release certificate? That seems backwards to me ... it's a head-scratcher that I hope to figure out one of these days.

According to the passenger list, all of the Kuhn family were citizens of Germany, had begun their journey from Wallerfangen, Germany, and had an intended destination of East Liverpool. On a ship manifest totaling 347 passengers, they were numbers 145 through 150 with the following information:
  • Nic. Kuhn, age 37, male, a laborer
  • Cathe. Kuhn, age 36, female
  • Anna Kuhn, age 12, female
  • Adam Kuhn, age 11, male
  • Mathe. Kuhn, age 9, male
  • Cathe. Kuhn, age 5, female
You can read more about their life in America in my Glassworkers series.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Memories

Easter Sunday ... a new dress ... an Easter hat.  
When I was a little girl, these things went together.

Jo Ellen Kuhn - Easter 1960

Of course we always went to church on Sundays, but Easter was a little different.  Before church, there was the treat of an Easter basket! A big chocolate rabbit, little chocolate eggs, Reese's peanut butter eggs … is there anything better? Mom would hide some of those pull-apart plastic eggs around the house and I would search for them. In later years, I sometimes hid the eggs and my younger sister searched for them.

These are the things I associate with the Easters of my childhood, except for one year. When I was young, Mom was very sick – anytime she was in the hospital I would stay with her sister, my Aunt Eva Aston, who had three children of her own. Her daughter, Sue, was only two months older than me and we spent a lot of time together when we were young.

One Easter, Mom was in the hospital – so I was staying at Aunt Eva's. I don't remember how old we were at the time, but Sue and I received identical Easter baskets that included a little wind-up bunny that was covered with soft white fur. All was good until I wound mine up too tight and it stopped hopping. When I wanted to play with Sue's, she protested and Aunt Eva told me I had to play with my own even if it was broken. I laugh about this memory today – but I was fuming that Sunday. Life was frustrating for a little girl with a big temper!!

Happy Easter
just don't eat too much candy … 
and don't wind your bunny too tight!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fork Ridge Christian Church - Part 3

Our internet service was down all day yesterday ... but at least this time I have an excuse for being late with my post!

So far in this series, I've touched on my strong ties to the Fork Ridge Christian Church through my Harris and Kuhn lines and have included photos of some baptism records for them. As noted in Part 2, my Grandma Dess was an Aston who married a Harris. But as family goes, she's not the only Aston who went to church there. 

I also found the baptism record for Henry Aston – I believe this would be Charles Henry Aston, a son of Joseph “Joe” Aston and his first wife, Rosa “Rose” Henceroth: 

Henry Aston

Rose died following the birth of her second child, which led to Joe marrying his second wife, Mary Gertrude Ryan. Many of Joe and Gertrude's children and their descendants have been and/or are members of the Fork Ridge Christian Church. 

Joe was one of my Grandma Dess' older brothers – and their oldest sister was Ethel May Aston who married Spencer Lee Marshall. The next baptism record is for their daughter, Mary Idella Marshall:

Idella Marshall

I started this series with a couple of photos of the Fork Ridge Christian Church – one from 1938 and another one that showed the building after the vestibule was added. So I think I'll close it out with a couple more photos.

For comparison, here again is the photo from Part 1 that shows the vestibule … and if you look closely to the left of the steps, you can see the top of the door that goes into the basement. 

This photo I took on 04 September 2006 shows how the steps down to the basement door were closed in as well as the addition of a roof over the steps up to the vestibule. I don't know exactly when those additions were made – if you know, feel free to leave a comment. 

As I'm writing this post, I realize that I don't have a good photo of the wheelchair ramp that was built later. I do have this one taken from the back end of the cemetery in which a portion of the ramp can be seen. Like much of the work done at the church, the ramp was built my cousins – and they did a beautiful job if I say so myself. 

As I said when I started this series … I have very strong ties to the Fork Ridge Christian Church. When I go to the cemetery, it seems that the majority of those buried there are related to me one way or another. And of course, that's where Mom and Dad were buried too:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fork Ridge Christian Church - Part 2

My Harris family has strong ties to the Fork Ridge Christian Church, as noted in yesterday's Part 1 post. But it's not just the Harris line … my Kuhn family has been connected to that church for many years. My grandparents, Herbert and Nellie (Church) Kuhn, bought their farm on Fork Ridge in the fall of 1929. I suspect they were already attending church there before Rev. Howearth's revival in 1932 resulted in 40+ new members.

Yesterday I posted three photos of baptism records for one Stewart and two Harris relatives who joined the Fork Ridge Christian Church in 1932. I ran across those records a few years back when I was at the church following a funeral, and the same aunt who wrote the church history I've been quoting let me scan them. I really appreciated that because one of them is for my mother who was baptized on 19 September 1936:

Louise Harris

Another is for one of my aunts … Mom's older sister:

Eva Mae Harris

Eva and Louise were the daughters of Dessie Harris whose baptism record appears in yesterday's blog post. Louise married Donald Glenn Kuhn, one of the sons of Herbert and Nellie mentioned in the first paragraph above. Dad's baptism record wasn't included with the ones I found, but I do have his actual Baptismal Certificate dated 17 October 1943. He was baptized by Rev. A. J. McCloy at the Cameron Christian Church as the Fork Ridge Christian Church doesn't have a baptistry.

As I think about this now, I'm not sure if all of the baptisms for Fork Ridge were performed at Cameron or if some of the earlier baptisms may have taken place somewhere else. Some quick internet research indicates that the First Christian Church in Moundsville is older than the Cameron church, so it's possible that some of the earliest baptisms may have occurred in Moundsville as the Cameron and Fork Ridge churches were both built in 1898.

Getting back to the records I scanned … two more were for Dad's older brothers:

Philip Kuhn

Dale Kuhn

In addition to my Harris and Kuhn ties to the Fork Ridge Christian Church, there's also a connection through my Aston line.  My grandmother, Dessie Aston who married Charles M. Harris, is the Dessie Harris from yesterday.  In addition to her, I found a few more Aston line baptism records that I'll post tomorrow.

But before signing off today, here's two more Stewart records.  Yesterday's post included Opal Stewart ... these are her younger brother and sister:

Homer Stewart, Jr.

Imogene Stewart
That's it for now!

Continue on to Part 3

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fork Ridge Christian Church - Part 1

As a young girl, Sunday meant going to church at the Fork Ridge Christian Church, located on Fork Ridge Road in Marshall County, West Virginia. We lived on Fork Ridge about 8 miles from Moundsville, the church was about 1½ miles further at the intersection of Brushy Ridge and Fork Ridge.

According to a history of the church written by one of my aunts who is still living, "Beginning in 1896 the congregation met in the Terrill, Upper Bane and Harris schools for lack of a regular meeting place. In 1898 the present building was erected by contractor Morgan Hicks. The land was donated by John Pierce and is deeded Sept. 20, 1898. Stone for the foundation was taken from the Joseph Parks farm and the stonemason was David Briggs."

Fork Ridge Christian Church ~ 1938
This photo above, courtesy of C. P. Rulong, shows the Fork Ridge Christian Church in 1938.  Above the door it reads: “Fork Ridge Christian Church, Built 1898.” Although it is hard to see, there is a small building at the left edge of the photo just behind the fence that was a coal shed.

Fork Ridge Christian Church
The picture on the right shows the church after the vestibule was added. This photo, found on the Marshall County GenWeb site, was undated. This is what I remember the church looking like when I attended there as a child. I remember sitting on those steps in the summer for Christian Endeavor (CE) youth meetings.

Going back to the history written by my aunt … “Charter members included Mr. & Mrs. John Pierce, Mr. & Mrs. A. Muldrew, Mr. & Mrs. S. M. Stewart, Mr. & Mrs. Uriah Harris, Mr. & Mrs. O. H. Lydick, John Day, A. Lowe, Tom Richmond, Johnson family, and Cummins family among others.

Uriah Harris is my 2nd great-grandfather; his wife Mary Ann was a Lydick. The Stewart's had a son, Orrin Homer Stewart, who married Elizabeth Virginia “Bess” Harris, a granddaughter of Uriah & Mary Ann. Mary Bane Cummins married Oscar Leslie “Bones” Harris, a grandson of Uriah & Mary Ann.

My aunt also wrote that, “The church was closed in the mid 1920's and reopened in June of '29 or '30. Only Sunday School was held for 2 or 3 years. Rev. Howearth held a revival in 1932 when more than 40 people joined the church.” I found baptismal records for three ancestors that likely resulted from that revival: 

Mrs. Dessie (Aston) Harris, my grandmother
Lawrence Harris
Opal (Stewart) Lautar
Tomorrow in Part 2 of this series, I'll post a few more of these baptismal records, including my mother's, and talk a little more about the church.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great-grandma Hattie and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census

I've been doing a lot of clean-up of the way I had recorded census sources in my genealogy database. Trying to establish a sense of consistency in preparation of creating a website later this year.

Hattie (Clark) Kuhn
In the process, I ran across an case that had always amused me. My paternal great-grandmother was Hattie May Clark who married Adam Kuhn on 18 January 1898. Their first child and only son, Herbert Kuhn, was my grandfather and he was born on 05 November 1898.

Fast-forward to 1900 when the U.S. Federal Census recorded data for each household as of 01 June 1900. Sure enough, Adam and Hattie appear on the census living in a rented home at 1206 Fourth Street, Moundsville, WV. They had been married two years and Hattie was the mother of one child, still living. So far, so good.

However, Hattie also appears in another household next door at 1208 Fourth Street. She was recorded as a single daughter living with her parents, Samuel and Margaret Clark. Huh???

Both households show Hattie as being 21 years old, born in July 1878. Interestingly, older sister Della is also recorded as living with Samuel and Margaret - being 27 years old, born April 1873, and single. Is that true? Or is she also actually married and living somewhere else too?

A quick jaunt to one of my favorite websites, the Vital Research Records from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and I found a marriage certificate for James Peters and Della V. Clark, married in Marshall County on 24 December 1889. Della was 18, which would equate to a birth circa 1872. And guess who the informant is ... Samuel Clark. So it's pretty safe to assume that this is the same Della.

Back to the census page, and just two households from Adam and Hattie I find James and Della Peters at 1202 Fourth Street. Here Della is recorded as 28 years old, born in April 1872, married for ten years, with two of three children still living.

So I think I've just figured out why my great-grandmother Hattie was listed in two households. It appears that Samuel and Margaret reported all of their children, regardless of whether they were single and living with them or married and living in another house. But why would they have reported Della and Hattie as single? My guess is that they just told the census enumerator names and birth dates – the enumerator probably assumed they were single.

Moral of this story … census records needs to be taken with a grain of salt. They contain a wealth of info - but it's good to find other sources that confirm it.  Names are frequently misspelled, and other info often contains mistakes, as in this story.  Be cautious!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sharing Photographs

Yesterday my Labeling Photographs post not only talked about labeling your photos, but I also urged you to get them out of magnetic albums if you have any there.  That's one piece of advice I consider worth repeating!

Most of the photos folks take today are digital, and it's good to convert any older photos you have into the digital format also.  You can scan them and then save the files as TIF or PNG files to keep as your archive copies.  You don't want to save the original scans as JPEG files because that format uses lossy compression.  Each time the file is opened and re-saved as a JPEG, it will lose data - and once you save a lossy file, you can never go back to the previous state.
If you need to edit a photo, first make a copy of the original scan and then do your editing to that copy.  You always want to keep an unedited archive copy of the original scan.  There are a lot of web sites with tips about scanning and editing photos, so I won't go into that here.  One place with a lot of info is "Creating & Editing Digital Photos" on one of's genealogy pages.

Moving on to sharing – there are a variety of ways I can think of for sharing your photos:

 Sharing “paper” photos:
  • Printing them out and giving copies to friends & family
  • Creating a photo album or a scrapbook as a gift 

Sharing digitized photos:
  • Emailing your files to others
  • Uploading to a photo-sharing site like flickr or snapfish where they can be stored in albums and shared
  • Creating digital scrapbook pages

Digital scrapbooks are created using any photo editing software that has the ability to work with levels. I haven't it tried it myself … yet … but I can see a lot of possibilities based on the sample page included in a "Digital Scrapbooking for Genealogists" post on the Shades of the Departed blog.

I could create a page with scanned photos of Mom's high school class ring, her Thespian pin, and a photo of her entire class that graduated in 1943 from Cameron High School. I could create a page to document Dad's service in the Marines that would include his dress uniform photo, his battallion photo, and scans of all the military memorabilia he kept in a box. Pretty cool.

As a genealogist, sharing family photos with others has the benefit of giving me a form of insurance against fires, floods, computer crashes, and any other way that photos can be destroyed. Last fall I scanned a LOT of photos from a distant cousin's albums that were a real treasure trove to me … but the flip side of that is that I am now a backup source for him. Should something happen to his albums, I have digital files that can be used to replace many of his photos.

I have so much work to do on my own photos, it's time to stop blogging and start following some of my own advice!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Labeling Photographs

Most folks have a few old photographs of some type … early Kodak black & whites, postcards, cabinet cards, maybe even a tintype. If you have old photos of your ancestors, here's the catch … do you know who is who? Did someone take the time to identify at least names if not dates and/or places? If so, count your blessings!

If you have photos that aren't identified, but YOU know who it is … please get them identified ASAP … future generations will thank you. At a minimum, use an archival pen (not ballpoint) to write any info you know on the back of the photo. I like to use Micron pigma ink pens – they are soft-tipped and the archival ink is perfect for acid-free environments.

You can take this identification one step further and assemble your photos into albums scrapbook-style. For your originals, photo corners work well as the photos get no adhesive on them and can easily be removed. Many folks recommend making copies of your originals to use in scrapbooks; those can be attached directly to your pages with acid-free adhesives.

Please, please, please tell me you do not have your photos in the magnetic photo albums – those things are nasty. Mom was ahead of her time when it came photo albums. She made personalized albums for my sister and me years ago that chronicled the events of our lives – if made today they would be called scrapbooks. Unfortunately, magnetic photo albums were all the rage back then and that's what Mom used.

Working slowly and using great care, I was able to remove the photos without too much damage, although I did have to use un-du Adhesive Remover on many of the photos to get them to release from the sticky album pages. Mom had typed the comments on her old Underwood typewriter, and I was able to match a computer font to the typeface and recreate her comments. I even copied the few typos just to maintain authenticity! By following Mom's page layouts in an archival quality photo album, my niece and I were able to surprise my sister one Christmas with a copy of the album Mom had made for her. Moral of the story … there is hope if you do have magnetic albums … but I recommend taking action sooner rather than later.

Next post, I'll discuss ways to share photographs and the benefits of doing so.